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The Effect of Timber Harvest on Summer Low Flows, Hinkle Creek, Oregon

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Changes to summer low flows from forest harvesting were measured for a gauged fourth-order stream in the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study. At the gauged stream, August streamflow increased an average of 1.9 mm/year (45%) for the three summers following forest harvest of 13% of a 1,084 ha watershed. Following a second harvest of an additional 13% of the watershed the August streamflow increased by 4.5 mm (106%) the first summer and 2.0 mm (47%) the second summer. Master recession curves were fit to the gauged watersheds and the resulting recession coefficients were used to predict low flows from small watersheds nested within the gauged watersheds. The estimated low flows were used to evaluate changes in summer low flows associated with forest harvest for the small watersheds. Using recession curve analysis, the estimated range of the increase for average August streamflow for the four small watersheds in the Hinkle Creek Paired Watershed Study was 1.7 mm to 4.4 mm the first summer following forest harvest. August streamflow in the small watersheds was not distinguishable from preharvest levels within 5 years for all but one watershed, which had the highest proportion of watershed area harvested.
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Keywords: forest hydrology; forest management; low flow; recession curve; water yield

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-01-01

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